The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Ryan says Rosenstein 'doing a fine job' | What to know for tonight's State of the Union: how to watch, who will be there, who is boycotting | GOP worries FBI controversy will overshadow address | First lady to attend speech | Hawaii employee didn't know missile alert was a drill | Boston, Philly ban each other's foods ahead of Super Bowl



You are doing A OK: House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record Tampons sent to Dem who called for free feminine hygiene products in House MORE (R-Wis.) defended Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinKavanaugh paper chase heats up 5 revelations from Mueller's indictment of Russians in DNC hack Mueller indictment appears to make reference to Roger Stone MORE, saying the deputy attorney general who is overseeing the Russia investigation is doing a "fine job" and that President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE should not fire him. Ryan's full quote: "I think Rod Rosenstein is doing a fine job. I have no reason to see why he should [fire him]," Ryan told reporters. "Rod Rosenstein was hired after this last election. I think the people at the FBI, at the DOJ need to clean their own house if there are problems in their own house."

WHAT SPARKED THIS: Sunday, The New York Times reported that President Trump considered ousting Rosenstein. Why: "A secret, highly contentious Republican memo reveals that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of a former Trump campaign associate shortly after taking office last spring, according to three people familiar with it. The renewal shows that the Justice Department under President Trump saw reason to believe that the associate, Carter Page, was acting as a Russian agent." Republicans have seized on the matter, arguing it suggests the Russia probe was prejudiced from the start. But Democrats say the memo cherry picks its facts. Full story:

It's Tuesday -- anyone else feel like this is the 84th day of January? I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.



What time does it start?: 9:10 p.m. EST

How can you watch?: It will air on all the major networks. Here's the official White House livestream:

Is this the president's first address to Congress?: No, it's his first State of the Union address, but he gave a speech to a joint session of Congress last February.

Will the first lady attend?: Yes.

Why we're even asking: First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Mueller indicts 12 Russian officials for DNC hack | Trump does damage control after bombshell interview Queen Elizabeth greets Trump for first visit to UK as president Trump: Queen Elizabeth is ‘just an incredible woman’ MORE hasn't been seen in public much since The Wall Street Journal reported that adult film star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Donald Trump a decade ago. Melania was reportedly "blindsided" by the reports.

Lawmakers can bring a guest. Who's coming?: Some of the notable guests include the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bill Nye "The Science Guy"; young undocumented immigrants popularly known as Dreamers; and Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson WerthGuest list: 

Who's wearing black: Democratic women. Like the Golden Globes attendees this year, Democratic women plan to wear black to show support for the "Me Too" movement.

Oops -- we'll need those back: Some of the tickets for tonight's address have a typo. What they say: "State of the Uniom." Tickets are being reprinted. Photo of a ticket with the typo:

Who's giving the Democratic Party's response?: Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyDem generation gap widens Dem lawmakers join nationwide protests against Trump immigration policies Joe Kennedy for chairman of the House Democratic Caucus MORE III (D-Mass.). Kennedy, who is 37 years old, is Robert F. Kennedy's grandson. Kennedy has kept a low profile since joining Congress in 2013, so this is his big platform to introduce himself to the public. What to know about him:

Keep in mind about the response: They usually only make news when there are gaffs. Think: Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioScottish beer company offering ‘tiny cans’ for Trump’s ‘tiny hands’ The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war MORE's (R-Fla.) awkward water sip in 2013 -->

How many Democrats are boycotting?: So far, nine House Democrats are not attending. List of those boycotting:



Will Trump talk about Russia?: That's unclear. But via CNBC, then-President Richard Nixon brought up the Watergate scandal during the 1974 State of the Union and resigned eight months later. Then-President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonEx-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' George W. Bush: I am ‘disturbed’ by the immigration rhetoric Booker seizes on Kavanaugh confirmation fight MORE, who was facing impeachment during his 1999 State of the Union, didn't mention it and finished his term.

What to expect -- five things:

1. Does Trump move the needle on the immigration debate?
2. The "Me Too" movement 
3. Democratic boycotts
4. Does Trump stay on script?
5. What is the Democratic message?

Why Republicans are nervous: Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, Republicans are hoping that a raft of new controversies concerning President Trump, the FBI and the Russia probe do not distract from the address. Why: Yesterday, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeFormer FBI lawyer Lisa Page gets closed-door grilling from House Republicans The dishonesty of the deep state 5 takeaways from wild hearing with controversial FBI agent MORE stepped down from his position. Plus: This comes on the heels of a report that Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE last year.



New development -- the Hawaii missile alert employee didn't know it was a drill: Via The Hill's Harper Neidig, the false missile alert earlier this month in Hawaii was the result of a miscommunication between the employee who issued it and supervisors who were announcing a drill.  What happened: According to a preliminary Federal Communications Commission report, a supervisor's recorded message included the phrase "exercise, exercise, exercise" but also mistakenly included the phrase "this is not a drill." A warning officer, the FCC said, heard the message but not the words "exercise, exercise, exercise" and, believing that it was an actual emergency, issued the false missile alert to the entire state.

I'd say this applies to about 70 percent of golfers tbh: Via, LPGA legend Suzann Pettersen plays golf with President Trump and opened up about their golf games. The $$ line: "He cheats like hell," she said. On his golfing skills: "He always says he is the world's best putter. But in all the times I've played him, he's never come close to breaking 80," she said. "But what's strange is that every time I talk to him he says he just golfed a 69, or that he set a new course record or won a club championship some place. I just laugh." Keep in mind: Although Pettersen does not agree with many of the president's policies, she's stayed in touch with him and used to talk on the phone with him monthly.

Interesting read on whether Robert Mueller will indict President Trump: The Atlantic's Paul Rosenzweig argues why he thinks "there's no way Mueller will indict Trump. Those hoping the special counsel will prosecute the president are engaging in fantasy." What could instead happen:






The House and Senate are in.

12:30 p.m. EST: The Senate breaks for weekly caucus luncheons.

1:30 p.m. EST: The House votes. Their schedule today:

2:15 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on nominations. Their schedule today:

4 p.m. EST: The House votes. 

8:30 p.m. EST: The House and Senate reconvene for the president's State of the Union address.

Wednesday: Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon will testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Keep in mind: He spoke with the committee earlier this month but failed the answer all of its questions. The panel then subpoenaed Bannon.



9:10 p.m. EST: President Trump delivers the State of the Union address. Livestream:

Op-ed: The University of Arizona's Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer argues that President Trump can give the country a reset by delivering a civil State of the Union.



Today is National Croissant Day. Now that's a day I can get behind.

I'm intrigued: Starbucks recently added a new croissant that tastes like an everything bagel. Photos:

Ok, this is pretty funny: Via NBC's "Today," gearing up for the Super Bowl, shops in Philadelphia and Boston are banning each other's famous food items. Think: Boston Cream doughnuts have been temporarily removed from some menus in Philly; a Boston bakery won't use Philadelphia Cream Cheese in its cheesecakes.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!: Via Variety's Justin Kroll, actor Tom Hanks will play Mr. Rogers in a new biographical movie:

And because there's going to be a lot of political talk happening today, I think you could use this distraction: here's a parrot who finds a way to cut this cat out of his life: